Clouds hang over Islamabad following the first winter rain on Wednesday. — White Star
Clouds hang over Islamabad following the first winter rain on Wednesday. — White Star

RAWALPINDI: Heavy rainfall in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad lowered temperatures further and disrupted flight schedules in northern parts of the Country on Wednesday.

It began raining heavily around midnight on Wednesday, and the rain and strong winds continued until the evening. The rain inundated low-lying areas in the garrison city.

The Met Office recorded 39 millimetres of rain in Chaklala, 11mm in Shamsabad, 20mm at Zero Point, 17mm in Saidpur, 13mm in Bokra, 11mm in Golra and 14mm at the Islamabad International Airport (IIA).

The Met Office has said that a strong westerly wave is affecting upper and central parts of the country, and will likely persist until tomorrow (Friday) morning.

It said heavy rainfall is expected in a few places in the districts of upper Punjab, Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and Islamabad, as well as in scattered places in the districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and central Punjab. Snowfall over high mountains and hailstorms in plain areas are also expected during this period.

Met Office says strong westerly wave likely to persist until tomorrow morning

Seven flights were disrupted due to the weather on Wednesday morning. PK-451, PK-603 and PK-605 for Skardu and Gilgit were cancelled, while PK-368 from Karachi, PK-452 from Skardu and PK-606 and PK-604 from Gilgit did not land at IIA.

A senior IIA official told Dawn that while flight operations in the northern areas were affected by the weather, the remaining flight operations in Islamabad continued as normal.

He said that rain did not affect flight operations, but rather visibility problems forced the cancellation of flights. The presence of heavy clouds disrupted flights mainly in mountain areas.

The rain also disrupted road travel, with water accumulating in the roads and streets of the city. Although business activities in main markets were slower than usual, food outlets selling fish, fried snacks and soup were thriving.

Faulty traffic signals and water accumulation also led to traffic jams on main roads, including at Asghar Mall Chowk, Chandni Chowk, FAwara Chowk, Kamran Market, The Mall and in Tench Bhatta.

Some parts of the city were also facing electricity problems. The affected areas include Murree Road, Ch Bostan Khan Road, Jhanda Cheechi, Sadiqabad, Naya Mohallah, Raja Bazaar and Dhoke Ratta.

Mohammad Rahat, a resident of Chamanzar, feared the situation would worsen in the coming days, saying that the government stopped electricity soon after the strong winds began.

Published in Dawn, November 7th, 2019